It’s hard to play favorites–any one of our fine Rochester-area chocolatiers makes for a great day trip detour or destination! Many of the chocolates are still crafted by 3rd- and 4th-generation descendants using traditional family recipes with modern twists.
I am currently on a mission to try all of the sponge candies. So far I’ve enjoyed Stever’s, Oliver’s, Wegmans (produced by Landies Candies in Buffalo), and, now gone but not forgotten, Peter’s Sweet Shop on S. Clinton. And this year, I’m buying myself a Golden Ticket to Fowler’s factory tour to see how sponge candy is made!
1. Andy’s Candies (1917) Their factory is on Hudson Ave. (not open for tours), with several suburban retail locations that have been operational for decades. Current chocolatiers are 4th generation descendants of the original owner.
2. Stever’s Candy (1946) Rochester’s Park Ave Neighborhood. Current chocolatiers are 3rd generation descendants of the original owner.
3. Watson’s Chocolates (1946) Victor. Their factory is in Tonawanda, with even more retail locations in Buffalo. Current chocolatiers are 3rd generation descendants of the original owner
4. Encore Chocolates (1987) Irondequoit
5. Sweet Expressions (1997) Canandaigua
6. Affaire de Chocolat (2001) Fairport
5 Old Country Stores
Rochester-area chocolatiers who also offer chocolate-making classes
8. Cocoa Bean Shoppe (2012) Pittsford
9. Laughing Gull Chocolates (2015) Rochester’s Winton Village neighborhood, previously in the Rochester Public Market. In addition to public and private chocolate-making classes, they offer chocolate tastings (which include some rare chocolates), hot chocolate flights, they sell Eat Me Ice Cream, espresso, tea, and other drinks, and offer Cheese Plates with local cheeses. They also have vegan and dairy-free options!
10. Vigneri Chocolates (1971) Rochester’s Lyell-Otis Neighborhood. Current chocolatiers are 3rd generation descendants of the original owner. Vigneri produces Wegmans’ chocolate bark in addition to selling their own seasonal, award-winning chocolates.
Of special note, Vingeri Chocolates has some exciting things in store for chocolate-lovers in Rochester! I reached out to CEO Alex Vigneri about their concept for a new chocolate factory experience center. He said the new space will encourage guests to see how chocolate is made, and to craft their own chocolate creation. Vigneri is close to finalizing the details, and has his sights set on Spring 2019, hopefully opening in time for Easter! He also said they are “hoping to incorporate Augmented Reality into the experience.”
Notable Chocolatiers in Buffalo & Batavia
11. Fowler’s Chocolates (1910) Factory in Buffalo plus 5 retail locations. Factory tours, complete with Golden Ticket, every Columbus Day weekend in October, offering self-guided tours and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how sponge candy is made.
12. Antoinette’s Sweets (1915) Depew
13. Oliver’s Candies (1932) Batavia. Offers factory tours.
14. Wahl’s Candies (1938) Cheektawaga
16. Landies Candies (1985) Buffalo. Also manufactures sponge candy for Wegmans.
Plus, check out this article from Buffalo News with even more excellent Buffalo-area chocolatiers!
13 Places to Spend
Maple Syrup Weekend
Notable Chocolatiers in Syracuse
17. Hercules Candies (1905) East Syracuse. Current chocolatiers are 3rd generation descendants of the original owner.
18. The Speach Family Candy Shoppe (1920) Syracuse. Current chocolatiers are 4th generation descendants of the original owner.